New York Times bestselling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of using genealogical DNA database tracking to catch a killer in Genesis, an unforgettable medical thriller.
When the body of twenty-nine-year-old social worker Gloria Montoya, seven weeks pregnant with her first child, shows up on Chief New York City Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery’s autopsy table, she’s baffled to find no apparent causes of death. With no clues to go on, Laurie enlists the help of Dr Tricia Albanese, a forensic pathology resident with a background in genetic science, to help her trace the identity of the unborn baby’s father using DNA from the mother and child. But when Tricia is found dead in her apartment in a manner strikingly similar to Gloria’s death, Laurie realizes she might have two linked homicides on her hands ... and now it’s up to her, with the help of her husband, ME Jack Stapleton, to continue the tracking work Tricia had begun before a killer can strike again.
The sleuthing overshadows the mystery in bestseller Cook's routine 11th medical thriller featuring Laurie Montgomery (after 2018's Pandemic). Montgomery, New York City's chief medical examiner, has her usual full plate at work and at home: her office is under fire for a screwup involving cadavers with identical names; and her nine-year-old son is having trouble at school. In addition, a brilliant but difficult pathology resident, Aria Nichols, has been blowing off her residency. A sensitive case gives Montgomery the opportunity to work with Nichols. Social worker Kera Jacobsen has apparently died of an opioid overdose, and Jacobsen's boss at the city's Department of Pathology is hoping the autopsy can be handled discreetly. The discovery that Jacobsen was pregnant leads Nichols to pursue the father's identity, using unconventional genetic testing to do so. By opening with a depiction of a married man drugging Jacobsen, Cook eliminates any doubt of foul play, and fans will regret Montgomery's taking a back seat to Nichols for much of the book. Innovative forensic science isn't enough to sustain interest.